July 13, 2010

Across this great divide, we are all connected.

As 12 a.m. hit on July 11th Drag­on Quest 9 was avaible to us here in the states. There was no long lines, no mid­night gamestop open­ings and no rush of DS hard­ware off the shelves. Lit­tle less than a year ago the same game was being released in Japan; there were long lines, mid­night open­ing and a colos­sal surge in DS pur­chas­es. Two coun­tries both heav­ly involved in gam­ing and yet both our taste are com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent. Both of our coun­tries sell vast amounts of hand­held hard­ware. The DS has reached world record sales while the PSP sell fair in this coun­try, but Japan dwarfs any num­ber we have ever had. In Japan every­one is inter­con­nect­ed. You search for a game to join on your hand­held and find tens of games right on the sub­way train your rid­ing. I rode pub­lic trans­porta­tion for over a year while attend­ing col­lege and I would see the same woman break out her DS on the sub­way and that was it, so much for mul­ti­play­er on the go.
The Drag­on Quest games, which start­ed out as Drag­on War­rior back in 1986 on the NES, has had a huge fol­low­ing in Japan. The same can be said about Cap­com’s Mon­ster Hunter series on the PSP, when a new iter­a­tion comes to shelves they fly off just as fast as they were stocked. When these games come out expect Japan to be on paid vaca­tion for a week. Japan no longer func­tions as a whole and every­one is quest­ing and try­ing to round up peo­ple to go mon­ster hunt­ing. The same could be said about a neig­bor­ing coun­try to Japan, Korea when it comes to Star Craft. Now that we are on the dawn of Star Craft II final­ly break­ing it’s incu­ba­tion bub­ble, expect Korea to cease to func­tion as well.
As Amer­i­cans we don’t see the same gen­res as con­sole movers. We would rather per­fer our FPS onslaught to that of clas­sic turn based RPG or a minia­ture action RPG that envolves us work­ing togeth­er. Now don’t get me wrong there are alot of gamers out there that do appri­ci­ate these things and are not so heavy on the mod­ern com­bat shoot­ers, but they are few­er and far­ther in between. Call of Duty Mod­ern Ware­fare 2 was the biggest game last year here in the states. In Japan it was Drag­on Quest 9, a DS game out­sold every oth­er con­sole title out there and pulling up in third was Mon­ster Hunter 3 a PSP game. Here’s the break down accord­ing to Ama­zon Japan.
9. Ryu Ga Gotoku 3
8. Res­i­dent Evil 5
7. Wii Fit Plus (soft­ware only)
6. Wii Sports Resort
5. Hat­sune Miku PROJECT DIVA
4. Tales of Ves­pe­ria (PS3)
3. Mon­ster Hunter 3
2. Tomodachi Col­lec­tion
1. Drag­on Quest IX
Amer­i­ca’s top ten look a bit dif­fer­ent.
01. Call Of Duty: Mod­ern War­fare 2 (Activi­sion, Xbox 360)
02. Wii Sports Resort (Nin­ten­do, Wii)
03. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nin­ten­do, Wii)
04. Wii Fit (Nin­ten­do, Wii)
05. Wii Fit Plus (Nin­ten­do, Wii)
06. Mario Kart Wii (Nin­ten­do, Wii)
07. Wii Play (Nin­ten­do, Wii)
08. Call Of Duty: Mod­ern War­fare 2 (Activi­sion, PS3)
09. Halo 3: ODST (Microsoft, Xbox 360)
10. Poke­mon Plat­inum (Nin­ten­do, DS)
I know we are all dif­fer­ent and we our taste are diverse, to not see this it would be igno­rant. The point is this maybe just once, you try somet­ing new. try some­thing that maybe not every­one in your group of friends, co work­ers, or coun­try are aware about. Maybe Drag­on Quest 9 will be in the top 10 for July’s NPD num­bers maybe not. Maybe Amer­i­ca will jump on the band­wag­on with the rest of the world and take soc­cer seri­ous­ly, but that’s hope­ing for a mir­a­cle. My first taste of some­thing tru­ly dif­fer­ent from Japan that pulled me in was Pat­apon for the PSP. It was a remark­able lit­tle RTS mixed with a rhythm game and I could not put it down, I was tak­en in and loved it; my heart breaks to see it sit­ting at a clearence price at work and no one ever even looks at it. Ever since then I have always tried to go out side of my com­fort zone with games, try some­thing new and excit­ing that may not have been delveloped here in the states.
We are all con­nect­ed as gamers. We all spend time infront of the T.V., com­put­er mon­i­tor, or hand­held, being enter­tained and con­nect­ing to world out side our own. So why can’t we as gamers take a jour­ney and dis­cov­er some­thing new from some­where out side of our home land.
Edi­tor note : I ment for this arti­cle to per­tain to Japan as well as our own coun­try. I see how I wrote it and it can seem alit­tle one sided. I hope both sides can lean some­thing from each oth­er. I picked up a copy of Drag­on Quest 9 today and hope­ful­ly with in a week I can get a review to you, thanks again.


  1. thsoundman - July 14, 2010 8:20 am

    I would have to agree with this ass­es­ment. I’m start­ing to become a fan of japan­ese games. I’ve recent­ly played Lost Odd­yssy and Final Fan­ta­sy XIII both of which did­n’t have that great of sales here in the US but in Japan flew off the shelves.
    I think it’s that Amer­i­cans don’t want to think at all when they are play­ing games that is the real issue here. Most of us pre­fer our twitch shoot­ers because it requires no real coher­ant thought. I actu­al­ly pre­fer games that make you think such as Myst, Sybe­ria, Final Fan­ta­sy, Mass Effect, The Witch­er, Drag­on Age, etc. I do enjoy my occa­sion­al FPS but I don’t live and breath it like some peo­ple do.
    You also have to take a look at their myth and cul­ture. They have a much more “Col­or­ful” mytho­log­i­cal his­to­ry com­bared to the US where we have a much short­er and more “mil­i­tary” based his­to­ry. Per­haps it means noth­ing per­haps it does. I don’t know.

  2. DianaQ - July 14, 2010 8:57 pm

    I would tend to agree that the more we all look at some­thing that is maybe dif­fer­ent than what we are com­fort­able with, we may sur­prise our­selves. Tak­ing a look at some­thing dif­fer­ent expands our knowl­edge and cre­ates a new dimen­sion of think­ing. Oth­er coun­tries can teach us about his­to­ry and cul­ture, thus expand­ing our thought process­es. Go beyond what is com­fort­able and learn some­thing new! What is chal­leng­ing is a game that requires one to think out a process or action. In this way, you are keep­ing your mind sharp!

  3. ScrotusKilmystr - July 15, 2010 1:24 pm

    I do agree with evey­one here but It’s also a mat­ter of cul­tur­al taste. sound­man brings up a great point about Japan’s col­or­ful his­to­ry and mythol­o­gy. We are young by com­par­i­son for sure. I just don’t think a turned based str­a­di­gy game based in the 1700’s would fly here maybe if it had some­thing to do with the witch hunts of salem but we just don’t have the amaz­ing his­tor­i­cal mytholo­gies that the rest of the world has and so we can’t relate to the sub­ject mat­ter.
    Also most of this coun­try hss s painful­ly short atten­sion span myself includ­ed. I cur­rent­ly am play­ing sev­er­al rpgs and I know I wont fin­ish them for a year or so.…


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